Does anybody remember my rants about stupid activism? The kind where people just do stuff with no clear sense of why they’re doing it? The kind where nothing productive happens, just a lot of noise and arrests? Well here’s another example, and it makes my head spin from beginning to end.
A local activist, Matthew Soltys, was arrested for spray painting a stencilled image on a wall of an affordable housing building downtown and having a stencil of the words “eco-terrorist” with him. He’s known for his strong environmentalist stance, and hosts a show on CFRU about it. When asked by the paper about the graffiti, he said he would consider it satire.
Ok, let the head-spinning begin. If you’re a big environmental activist, and you’re also into being concerned for the poor as he seems to be from the kinds of things written on a website he is affiliated with, why in the good holy christ would you choose an affordable housing building to vandalize? Second, if you’re so concerned about the environment that you would put your own neck on the line, why would you choose a spray can, an aerosol can that puts noxious fumes into the atmosphere, as the instrument to spread your message? Third, he says it’s satirical. I don’t care if he wrote the funniest joke known to man or the most brilliant piece of writing ever to have been created. It’s still vandalism! he still did it without permission on someone else’s property. If he wants to write satire, he already writes for a website, that would be a perfectly good place to write it. Or, he could start up his own website. He has the technology. And no trees will be harmed in its writing, unless someone decides to print something off. But at least then he won’t be causing the damage himself. Finally, does he really think his message will be received as satire, considering how many fires have been set locally by eco-terrorist groups? Can he really be surprised, if he’s paid attention at all in the last year to what’s been happening in his own town? Oh yeah, that’s not part of the activist’s job. They just do stuff because they feel driven to do it. Do you see why this kind of activism bugs me?
Has your head stopped spinning yet? Mine has, and it’s stopped on the conclusion that this man is an idiot.